What’s on my mind?
I will tell you.
…all of the students who tell me that their parents consistently condemn them, whether its subtly or outright, because they have not achieved the best job or made the best career move they could possibly make. Their parents are “disappointed” in them. And their kids turn back in fear of the unknown because, as it turns out, God isn’t all that different from the gods of Babylon. When they tell these kids that God loves them and is sure to give them what they have given to the church (altar), and God doesn’t give them back whatever they feel like is an appropriate return of investment, or the giant cosmic pay out is left hanging; a great wash of disappointment floods the mind of the child as another soul bites the dust in the sands of yesterdays primitive revelation.
“What is wrong with me?”
“Is God angry with me?”
“Haven’t I behaved myself?”
“I’ve never even taken a shot of alcohol!”
These questions are but the tip of the iceberg. And how are we to respond? Well, we can freely come to grips with the fact that this achievement-driven outlook is fueled by a primitive theory of the gods who are sure to blame for your lack of affluence or your outpouring of resources. Folks, this idea that you must work to secure divine agency by laying down some of your resources at the altar (church) in order to appease the gods is primitive and nothing like the God revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus displayed not a Father who needed appeasement for His anger, but a Father who loved us unconditionally, and was ready for us to go beyond the sacrificial system He indulged for a couple thousand years so that humanity would come into right relationship with the true God. Once again, Jesus does the unthinkable by getting up on a cross and putting on display a similar moment to the angel of the Lord holding back the arm of Abraham before he sacrificed his one and only son: “I am not similar to that of a toddler throwing a fit in the corner. I am God and I am with you, all the way to the end. Forever and always.”
Jesus is so much better than we even realize and worth far more than being used as a pipeline to a safe and secure state of existence. There are no easy answers to these questions, only a world beneath the weight of death and futility, crying out to be renewed in the hope of the son of God, who is nothing like the gods of money and status that we worship. Time must be given to listening to the voice beyond our conscious state and learning from the God who is here.
There are no easy answers to these questions…
Maybe we should be more encouraging and extract the precious from the worthless from the next generation so that they do exceed what their parents have done.
Maybe we should love in-spite of personal failure and speak life over death.
Maybe we should tell our kids that they are not alone, as generations have gone before them struggling with the same things.
Maybe we should hope that the next generation will have a better understanding of the God of scripture.
Maybe we should care enough to not judge the hearts of our children based on their report cards or choices.
Maybe…consider this rant over.
Time would fail me to tell you of all of the youth I speak with who are constantly carrying the weight of disappointment given to them from their parents. I know there is always two sides to every story, but surely we can do better. Surely, we can all love better.